Arts and Crafts of Bishnupur
The most famous art form of Bishnupur is its terracotta work. The exquisite craftsmanship of the terracotta artisans is evident in the Madanmohana Temple and the Shyam Rai Temple. The temple walls are elegantly emblazoned with the designs and carvings of numerous aspects of Krishna’s life-playing with Radha and the other milkmaids, incarnations of Vishnu, etc. Artisans of Uliwara village of Bishnupur and adjacent Panchmura village of Taldangra block generate high quality of Terracota tiles, beautiful gift-items, burnt clay models.
Baluchari In Progress
One of the most steeply-priced saris in India called the Baluchari saris are created by workmen of this place. The silk strands are dyed one at a time then placed into a loom. Patterns are woven with the help of a number of punch cards that are strung from the top of the loom. These punch cards are rectangular pieces of pressboard with countless holes punched in accordance with the design.
The colored strands pass through these holes and fall into place very precisely on the loom. One sari could possibly have an entire episode from the Mahabharata woven into its border and pallu.
The name Dokra or Dhokra was used to indicate a gaggle of craftsmen of nomadic type, scattered over Bengal, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh and ware recognized by their beautifully shaped and decorated metal products. The craftsmen have latter on settled down in certain areas of Burdwan, Bankura and Midnapore districts of West Bengal leaving their nomadic character. Most of such craftsmen had left the craft leaving only a few families in the trade.
Dokra system of metal casting is said to be most ancient form of metal casting and is from a technical perspective known as cire perdue or lost wax process. A replica of the desired product is made with wax on a clay core with all its finer specifics of designs and decorations. A few layers of finely prepared clay paste is applied over the model and dried in the shade. The technique of casting revolves round replacing wax with molten metal by the traditional hollow casting method. Brass scrap in typically used as raw material. In recent years, the product of Dokra artisans are in great demand in domestic and foreign market because of it medieval simplicity enchanting folk motifs and forceful form. Though, originally it developed at Bikna village of Bankura-II block under Bankura Sadar Sub-Division, but artisans of Patrasayer of Bishnupur Sub-Division, which is 30 km away from Bishnupur town, produce Dokra items with very fine polish. Products like dokra horses, elephants, peacock owl, religious images, and measuring bowls, lamp caskets etc., are highly treasured.
Conch Shell Carving
The conch shell curving is probably the traditional art of Bishnupur. Traditional artisans, mostly of Sankha Banik caste partake conch shell curving at Sankhari Bazar, Malleswar and Kadakuli. Besides, making bangles, the artisans beautifully curve various mythological character of Hindu pantheons on conch shell. Sri Gopal Nandi, one of the eminent artisan and President Medal Awardee still displays beautiful and intricate fine art of conch shell curving. Generally, it requires more than a months of hard labor to design and style a conch shell and clearly a costly item. Since such designed conch shell is very costly, therefore, the artisans are shifting to coconut shell curving to find trading markets.